Gadgets 


I started looking for a new laptop to replace my soon 6 year old one, which has been kept alive by a hdd->ssd transplant, a battery replacement and an OS upgrade. I’ve read up on what components are available now, but I’m not sure what I want except something with a better display and cpu than my current (ancient) machine. Preferably with a Skylake CPU, a PCIe SSD and 8GB of ram. A back-lit keyboard would also be nice.

I’ve been going back and forth between “sleek, light, portable, with good battery life, but underpowered” and “larger, high performance machine with no battery life”. And then back to “bah, just keep on (not) using the old one”. … Continue reading

 

odac.jpg

Back in January, I needed to buy a headphone amplifier for the excellent headphones I got as a birthday present. I ended up getting the Objective 2 (O2) amplifier, which is an open source design that you can build yourself if you want. It had great reviews and the design goals appealed to me. It was basically designed to prove a point: that you could make a transparent amplifier that measured well (hence the “objective”) with fairly inexpensive parts.

The same guy who designed the O2 also designed a USB DAC (digital-to-analog converter) called the Objective DAC (ODAC) following the same principles. I wasn’t really in the market for a DAC, but since I was ordering from the US, I bought both. I got the stand-alone ODAC (it’s the tiny box on the top in the picture) so that I could connect it to what I wanted via the line-out. At first the DAC felt like overkill and I didn’t use it much. When I eventually started using it, I was impressed with the improved sound quality.

The other day I read somewhere that the ODAC might work with Android devices, so I thought I’d give it a shot and bought a USB OTG (on-the-go) cable and hooked up my Galaxy Note 8 to the ODAC. And it worked right away! :D Now I can get “raw” digital audio from my Note and let the ODAC take it from there.

This makes me appreciate both the fact that the ODAC designer opted for a chip that doesn’t require proprietary drivers, but uses standard protocols instead, and that Android follows these standards.

If you’re curious about the headphones, they’re Beyerdynamic DT880’s (premium, 250 ohm). Love them.

 

I got myself a Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 a while back. It was kind of an impulse buy. I’ve been wanting a tablet for quite some time, but I haven’t been able to justify it. I was seduced by the stylus. I thought it could be fun to doodle a little on the tablet between surfing the web and browsing youtube.

I liked it more than I expected. The ability to draw digitally really rekindled something inside me. I used to draw all the time when I was in school, but then I just stopped and haven’t drawn for a very long while.

I bought Sketchbook Pro (Galaxy Note edition), which is dirt cheap. Initially I thought I’d do pencil sketches and maybe outline and colour them, like cartoons. Then I saw these videos by French artist samkat, which really inspired me:

youtube
youtube

notepainting.jpg

I was intrigued by how he used a few initial colours and then mixed them by picking the colours from the areas where the colours bleed into one another. I’ve only used water colours and that was ages ago. I’m really enjoying this digital painting with colours. I’m not good at it, but it’s fun.

Having this tablet kind of makes me regret not buying a Wacom board for my PC back when I was drawing a lot, but I was a student and couldn’t afford it.

… Continue reading

 
youtubemenu.jpg

The PS3 has always sucked when it has come to viewing Youtube videos. They’ve hardly been viewable in the web browser with horrible quality. However, a while back a dedicated Youtube app was finally released. In order to install it on your PS3, go to TV/Video Services -> My Channels -> Youtube. Works great.

What’s even better is that in the latest update for the iOS Youtube app that came out today, they’ve added support for pairing your iPhone to your PlayStation 3 which allows you to search for videos on your phone and then show it on your TV via your PS3. I don’t know how long I’ve been waiting for this. It’s extremely convenient. And, yes, you can watch the videos in HD.

phonetops3.jpg

 

I’m using an old first generation WD TV HD media player for watching my dramas (got it for the subtitle support that the PS3 lacks). I was curious about whether it’d work with a hardware encrypted hard drive. I googled a little, but didn’t find any specifics. The manual suggests that it’s compatible with older Western Digital drives with “drive lock”, which is just a password lock (no encryption). I didn’t find anything about compatibility with current hard drives.

So I went out and bought a new WD My Passport, enabled encryption and connected it to my WD TV. The WD TV recognizes the encrypted drive. It asks you to unlock it by entering the password using your remote and then it works like a normal hard drive. As long as the WD TV has power (including stand-by), the drive stays unlocked. Once you eject or unplug the drive or the WD TV loses power, the drive locks down and you have to use the password to unlock it again.

encrypteddrivewdtv.jpg

I just thought I’d post this in case anyone else is googling for the same thing. The current My Passport drives work out of the box with the WD TV HD (oldest version, Gen 1) with encryption enabled.

The drive won’t work with the PS3 though. Get a basic (and FAT32 formatted) USB drive for that. Only get this particular drive if you want to use hardware encryption.

 
LG Roboking

I recently bought an LG Roboking robotic vacuum cleaner and thought I’d write up a review of it, and perhaps clear up some misconceptions I’ve seen online.

The version I got is the LG Roboking VR6171LVM, which is the second newest Korean model at the moment. The Roboking is sold under the name LG Hom-bot in a few European countries, but not here in Sweden.

I will be comparing it to my old iRobot Roomba Discovery SE (4xx-series). I’ve been using the Roboking daily for about two and a half weeks.

Prepare for a loooong read :) . … Continue reading

 
samsung_disk.jpg

Since the amount of Asian music videos that I have had reached a critical point, I had to go out and buy a new hard drive today. I thought I’d use this one solely for Asian music — especially for K-Pop, which fills up disks pretty quickly with all the high-definition material out there.

This is the one I picked out. It seemed fitting for the task at hand. Writing a “K-Pop” label on this disk would be kind of redundant :) .

(It’s a Samsung G2 Portable 500GB Coral Blue)

 

On Friday I got a X-mas present that I bought for myself :)

It’s a new laptop! An Asus UL30Vt. It’s one of those “super slim, but still not a netbook” kind of laptops. I didn’t want a netbook, since I mean to use it as my main computer, so the screen can’t be any smaller than this (yes, I’m writing this on the UL30 :) ).

UL30Vt

… Continue reading

 
SC-HC3

A few weeks ago I bought a Panasonic SC-HC3 (it just rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it?) sound system.

It’s a pretty neat “micro system” that has radio, CD and iPod docking. It has a motorized sliding door which opens to the right if you want to access the iPod dock and to the left for the CD. The door is transparent (smoked) in front of the iPod, so you can see the iPod’s display through it.

… Continue reading

 

I have been resisting the iPod for a long time. Mainly because of how “locked in” it is with its iTunes requirement (I know there are alternative programs).

One morning I was on my way to work and was listening to music on my cellphone… or at least I was trying to. The headphone adapter came off one time and the phone thought I had pressed the hands-free button three times. I had had enough.

iPod Nano

I went looking for a new MP3-player on my lunch break and, as it turns out, the selection is horrifyingly small where I live, so I decided to go against my principles and get an iPod.

I got the latest Nano. I was going to get a 16 GB version, but they didn’t have the colour I wanted at the Apple store, so I got an 8 GB version instead. I also went back later to buy a pack of “iPod socks” :lol: (the sock in the picture is supposed to be green - the lighting conditions weren’t exactly ideal when I took the photo)

So far, I can say that iTunes works great with podcasts, and sub-par at basically everything else. I activated the “sound check” feature which caused iTunes to raise the volume of a few random songs by 100% for no apparent reason. … Continue reading

 

Next Page »